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Ethiopia: Authority Vows to Hold CSOs Working Against ‘Sovereignty, Public Interest’ to Account

Addis Abeba — Jima Dilbo, Director General of the federal Authority for Civil Society Organizations (ACSO) told state media that the Agency would strengthen its works to make civil society organizations “working against Ethiopia’s sovereignty and the public interest” accountable by law.

Jima further pointed out that the Authority was working with the relevant parties to establish a strong monitoring and control system. However, he also said that the support of the federal government to civil society organizations will continue in accordance with the purpose for which they were established.

The news comes a week after a group of 35 local civil society organizations issued a joint statement calling for peace in Ethiopia and an end to the ongoing militarized hostilities in parts of Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions, as well as other conflicts involving the federal and Oromia regional state forces on the one hand and the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), known by the government as “OLF Shene” on the other. The presser called by the group was however blocked by security forces, forcing the group to issue the statement online.

A news report by Wazema Radio said that the group of CSOs was warned by a senior government official who criticized the statement for failing to “consider the danger” the country was facing now and failing to “explain the damage done by the TPLF.”

According to Jima “following the changes in Ethiopia, more than 4000 organizations are operating legally in order to fully guarantee the right of civil society organizations to organize” and that most of these organizations are working in compliance with the law of the country.